Race Craft – How to Act on Track

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With advancements in online gaming, we’ve been able to compete with other sim racers like never before. We are now able to compete in full 24-hour races, even racing in a team with drivers from the other side of the globe! However, we are still human. We make mistakes, and can affect others, even on a virtual scale. I want to talk about what is deemed as proper race craft, so we can be as civil on the track as possible.

iracing lack of race craft

I feel that race craft is one element in sim racing that can be sorely lacking, and the reason is lack of accountability. Unlike real life racing series, there are rarely sanctioning bodies governing online racing, so it is not uncommon to see drivers acting like morons on track. Arguments and disagreements can ensue, which can lead to heated arguments and controversy.

I want to take a look at what makes up race craft, so we can have an enjoyable experience racing with other people online.

Respect Other Drivers

I think this goes without saying, but one of the keys to proper race craft is the fact that you are racing with other people. We’re not racing against robotic AI, which will strictly adhere to a racing line. We are racing against human beings, which makes the situation all the more dynamic. You’ll learn a driver’s behavior, learn what you can capitalize on, and how to get past the driver.

One of the goals you want to have is to avoid making contact with the other driver. It will likely anger the other driver, but it may adversely affect your vehicle as well. It is far more enjoyable to race side by side with a racer, in a heated battle. It is a true adrenaline rush!

Passing – Who Gets the Corner?

The goal of a racer is to win. To do that, odds are, you are going to need to pass a few cars. To pass cars, vehicle placement is key. Knowledge of the track is also a significant asset, to know what corners are key passing points.

If there is a racing incident, a common thing you will hear on the chat is “What were you doing?! I had the corner!” However, what exactly does “having the corner” mean? The common consensus is that if you “have the corner”, it is the other driver’s responsibility to not hit you. Check out the video below for some more info on passing and who the corner belongs to.

Commonly, if you are road racing, if you are passing a car, and are alongside the car to the inside of the corner, you have possession of the corner. Therefore, it is the other car’s responsibility to “surrender” the corner, and make sure there is no incident. If you are not alongside the car, then it is YOUR responsibility to not cause a contact.

For oval racing, it is said that if you are to the inside of the car you’re passing, the corner belongs to you, regardless of how far alongside you are. The other car is allowed to pass on the outside, but the driver should NOT come down and cause contact.

Car Placement vs Blocking – What’s the Difference?

Once you’re in front of another car, you want to stay in front. There are different ways to stay in front, with some being more accepted than others.

Drivers can strategically place their car on the track, to force a potential passer to take a less-than-ideal racing line into the next corner. However, some people will mistake car placement for “Blocking”, which is frowned upon and can also elicit penalties in many racing series. So, what is the difference?

The major difference between car placement and blocking is that blocking is a reactionary move. A blocking driver notices that a car is attempting a pass, and will move to cut off the driver’s momentum. Strategic car placement is a move done in anticipation. Before the car behind you can make a move, you will place your car in an ideal situation for you. While that may not sound like much of a difference, it is a major factor. Car placement forces the passer to react to a situation, while a block has the driver being passed reacting in a questionable manner.

These are two major elements to race craft, and hopefully will help improve your experience driving in online races. For more racing tips, I would highly recommend you check out iRacing’s Driving School, which gives an effective crash course on how to race in an online environment.

Do you have any tips on how to improve race craft? Let us know in the comments below!